Amy Griffiths marathon

Amy persevered to finish the London Marathon - and beat her brother!

08 May 2018

What an experience! Running the London Marathon was probably the hardest thing I have ever put myself through, but it's a day I will remember forever.

I wanted to run for a charity that resonated with me, and found Opening Doors London, a charity that provides support for older LGBT people in London. As a primary school teacher I know the importance of educating pupils about inclusivity, different types of families and sexualities, so that they grow to be caring and accepting towards everyone. So, I offered my services to this great charity and they accepted!

When I started my training I loved every minute, and I soon booked myself onto a half marathon, which gave me a huge confidence boost when I finished in 1hr 45mins. Disaster soon struck though, as I developed shin splints. Then, when these improved, the ‘Beast from the East’ hit. Training was brutal; I wasn't as fit as I was before the injury and the weather conditions were freezing. But I persevered. The long runs soon crept up to 22miles as I thought about all the older LGBT people I was helping. 

On the morning of the marathon I was so nervous, but the atmosphere at Greenwich Park was electric; you could feel the excitement in the air and I just thought about all the reasons why we were running. Then finally it was time! Of course, the weather on that day was very different from the cold spell we’d had just a few weeks earlier. I couldn't believe that after all the training in arctic conditions the actual race was a heat wave! I just was not prepared for it. I realised I would not achieve my target time of sub-4 hours so decided I just needed to enjoy the day. 

The first half was difficult, but bearable. The streets were lined with supporters, children held their hands out for high-fives and there were bags and bags of jelly beans, sweets and ice cubes. But after the half way point the temperature got hotter, my ankles started to ache from weaving through all the runners and my feet got really heavy - at times I was close to tears which must have shown because spectators would shout my name in support. I decided to walk at every water station to give myself a little rest but at the final six miles it got so hard I wasn't sure I could do it any more. 

At mile 25 I started walking and didn't think I could run again. But then my brother - who had also entered the marathon - appeared from behind me, and said 'come on, let's go'. Thanks to this boost we both ran together without stopping for the rest of the course. We saw our family again at the 600m mark and knew we were nearly there. We both sped up from a sudden burst of adrenaline and then just before the finish line I started sprinting, because I wanted to beat my brother! I ended up beating him by a second with a time of 4:49:11. 

When I finished I burst into tears. I just hadn’t expected it to be so difficult. But that evening I managed to reach my fundraising target. I am just so proud to say that I ran for such a great and deserving cause. 

You can donate to Amy's fundraising page here.  

Amy was given the opportunity to run the 2018 London Marathon for Opening Doors London through Team London. Find out more about what we do.